My Clothing Storage Overhaul: Before and After

For me, overhauling my spaces is an iterative process. You refine your systems, you live with it, and then you make improvements.

Several years ago, I started my lighter life journey by tossing about 75% of my belongings, and while I have continued to pare down my wardrobe season-over-season, I still hadn’t addressed the spaces my wardrobe was stored in.

I’m lucky to have access to two closets, so I have two hanging bars, two shelves, a dresser, and I keep two Rubbermaid tubs in my “second” closet to hold some of my out of season clothing. I’ve also recently decluttered to the point where I don’t need a second full set of drawers to store out-of-season items.

If all of this sounds very non-minimal, that’s because it is; because I have the space, I choose to maintain not only two major seasons of clothes (plus the buffer seasons of Spring/Fall), but 2-3 sub-wardrobes – for my professional wardrobe, my casual wardrobe, and some workout gear for each season. I keep narrowing the boundaries of my spaces, and then paring down to match the tightened boundaries.

NOTE: 2020 is not a good year to declutter your professional wardrobe using any sort of timeframe based methodology (ie. I haven’t worn this in 6 months/this season); with many of us working from home, with no real understanding of when we might return to the office, maintaining your professional wardrobe in the short-term is advisable. Assuming you have the space for it!

This summer I made two main changes to the way I store my wardrobe – I swapped in matching slim-profile velvet hangers, and I purchased underbed storage for my out-of-season shoes and boots, in order to reclaim the shelf in my “primary” closet. The befores (in grey) and the afters (in full colour) show the incredible difference these two small changes have made; I’m also now using my reclaimed shelf to store other items; although additional solutions are needed to make even better use of space.

BEFORE “PRIMARY’ CLOSET: messy and mismatched hangers – including (gasp) hangers from the dry cleaner; and soooo many shoe boxes teetering on the top shelf. I also hadn’t fully switched my winter clothes out – solution: I now have enough hangers for every item I hang in my closets year-round, making it easier to move the in-season items from the “primary” to the “second” closet and back.

AFTER “PRIMARY” CLOSET: matching hangers taking up less space, items are easier to find on their own dedicated hanger, tidied hanging organizers. Plus, I’ve reclaimed the top shelf for items that didn’t fit well elsewhere on shelves – including my late-Grandmother’s knitting bag and patterns. And, I tucked all of the shoes (and extra knitting wool) into under-bed storage bags, which are helping make better use of the “dead space” under the bed.

BEFORE “SECONDARY” CLOSET: more mismatched and messy hangers, and lots of items (especially pants) doubled up on hangers. Extra regular hangers that wouldn’t fit in my “primary” closet, and a couple of totes that were bursting at the seems.

AFTER “SECONDARY” CLOSET: every thing on its own hanger, with a few to spare (see below – by the numbers); organized totes with room to spare. And, the items are hung up off the boxes below that I now have  a visual reminder – still need to be organized.

By The Numbers: before I started this project, I knew I had to price out a few of my organizational products. All prices in Canadian Dollars, as of July 2020.

Velvet Hangers: I priced out Walmart, Canadian Tire and Dollarama, as well as Amazon. I chose to purchase 2x 100pk hangers from Amazon; while Dollerama beat Amazon by a couple of dollars, the Amazon product had easier delivery and return options. Note: I did not need 200 hangers, and ended up returning an unopened case of 100 hangers. Here in Markham, wire dry-cleaning hangers are disposed of in the regular garbage collection (learned after I tried to turn some in to the waste depot) and I donated the remaining hangers to my local thrift/charity shop.

Type A – Non Slip Hangers: Canadian Tire19.99 / 20pk
Neat Freak – Non Slip Hangers: Walmart9.99/ 10pk
Amazon – Amazon Basics55.47/ 100pk
Dollarama48/ 96pk

Under Bed/Shoe Box Storage: Because I was replacing existing shoe boxes, I started by pricing out clear plastic shoe boxes, but it quickly became apparent that under bed storage would be cheaper, more flexible, and would come in a height that would fit easily under my bed. Again, I ended up going with the Amazon option, this time because it came in the exact height I needed for my space. Some of the shoe boxes that were in better condition have been retained to pack up items I’ll be donating from another organizational project, the rest were broken down and recycled in our Blue Box.

Type A – Clarity Shoe Box: Canadian Tire19.99/ 10pk
Clear Shoe Box (reduced): Walmart26.99/ 10pk
Clear Shoe Box: Amazon53.24/ 12pk
Under Bed Soft Storage: Walmart20.99/ 1
Under Bed Soft Storage: Amazon30.87/ 2pk

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